Milk is most definitely a good choice

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So… I went to the movies on Thursday night.

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Which lead me to the realization that I basically carry my entire life in my purse on a regular basis. Purse doesn’t really cut it. Let’s try… BAG. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Yes. Phone? Obviously. Keys. Gloves. Pen. Gum. Tea bags. Novel (clearly. What if I have a spare five minutes or something?! Better to read than to stare at a screen). Water bottle? Helloooo. And cookies. Duh. Who DOESN’T carry a tupperware of cookies in their purse?

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Besides, movie snacks are horrendously expensive and full of junk. I would rather make my own and save twenty bucks, you know? I’ve even been known to sneak in a sandwich. It was a lunchtime movie!! I was going to be hungry! And hungry=impatience and very little focus. I’m not paying over ten dollars to be hungry and distracted. And it’s way more fun to whip out your smuggled in snacks and watch the looks of jealousy from your neighbors than to eat the theater crap (Except for maybe the occasional popcorn, I might make an exception for that, but only if I have snacks with me to combat the saltiness).

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So anyway. My life comes with me on my shoulder on a regular basis and may even include cookies. Those lucky souls escorting me to the theater are no doubt grateful for this, unless they get asked to hold my bag…

Bicep workout, anyone?

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Almond Coconut Cookies

This recipe is only a teeny bit adapted from Making Thyme for Health, here! These are gluten free and dairy free, AND free of refined sugar! And possibly paleo? Though I’m not gluten free, I’m always looking for ways to switch up my snackies and desserty type things, and these totally fit the bill. Delicious, satisfying, and quick to come together. Besides all that, they’re full  of nutrients, which is how I like all of  my food to be. None of those empty calories for me, thanks!

I found that the coconut flavor is much more pronounced than the almond; if you’re really going for almond, I’m sure a splash of almond extract would be delicious.
Yield: 16 cookies

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Rustle up the following:

  • 3/4 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted, I like the extra bit of saltiness)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, egg and egg yolk. Keep whisking vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and combined (alternatively, you could use a mixer but eehhhhhh I didn’t want to do extra dishes…). Stir in shredded coconut. Toss wet into dry, and stir slowly until combined (trying not to fling flour everywhere, no I obviously don’t speak from experience, what makes you say that?!). Stir in chocolate chips—the dough should be very thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is chilled, roll it into tablespoon sized balls and flatten them slightly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for just about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack! And don’t do this, unless you want cookies that have… character:

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Oops!

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The smashed ones were definitely my favorites…

Family traditions and some bacon (because why wouldn’t you add bacon?!)

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Happy slightly belated New Year!

2014 already?! Hard to believe. But I am fully determined to manifest the best.year.ever. Sparkly, bright, and new. And HAPPY! As Voltaire once wisely said, “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health”. Mantra for 2014? Check.

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Welcome to my family: with a grandmother hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, there was no escaping the obligatory good-luck meal for New Year’s day (not that I would want to escape it, it’s DELICIOUS). Black eyed peas+rice, cabbage with bacon [uncured and nitrate free, obviouslyyyy], and cornbread. All for good luck, though with different connotations: greens are for money, and cornbread for gold… and then I’m not entirely sure of the story behind the black eyed peas, but they’re lucky. Just accept it and move on.

It’s not New Years without some black eyed peas.

Why are they called peas? They’re obviously beans…

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Anyway…

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Despite the fact that I don’t drink, apparently I make good drinks: this one was even named after me!! Meet the HayBay! Kind of like a mimosa except not. A bit of bubbly, ginger liqueur, and ruby red grapefruit juice. Rather like me, I suppose… bubbly? Sassy? And maybe a little tart, ha.

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Happy TwentyFourteen! Much joy, laughter, and happiness to you and yours in the new year. Go hug someone :)

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New Year’s Cabbage with Bacon

I’m not even going to do this recipe-style… as far as I know I’ve never seen this recipe written down—all I know is that it comes from the southern side of the fambam. Technically I suppose this recipe is gluten free and paleo!

Cut up a big head of cabbage. Don’t worry about shredding it, just hack it into fork-sized, manageable chunks. After that’s done, slice up 5-6 stalks of celery.

Assuming you previously cooked up a good-sized skillet of [uncured, nitrate-free] baconony goodness (sorry, this is in no way, shape or form a vegetarian recipe. Sorry I’m not sorry, sometimes a girl’s gotta have bacon!), dump some of the leftover bacon grease into the largish soup pot you’re using for the cabbage. Sauté the cabbage and celery in the bacon fat unit it gets soft, but still has a crunch to it. Toss in diced bacon bits and salt, pepper, and hot sauce it up to suit your taste. We use Crystal hot sauce for this, since it’s a family tradition.

Serve hot, with black eyed peas cooked with more bacon (duh) and some cornbread (mine happened to be vegan… can’t get too far away from those contradictions, can we?!).

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Happy New Year!

Full-tilt jungle madness [ie holiday whilst working retail]

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Happy Solstice! I was definitely wishing I was at Stonehenge tonight [not Sconehenge. We already know I’ve been there…].

Four days till Christmas?

Yep.

Holiday retail madness is in full tilt jungle mode. Oi. We had a line to the back of the store for the majority of my shift today, and I literally felt like a ping pong ball trying to get from the back of the store to the front. “Excuse me, excuse me, oops sorry, ‘scuse me” don’t mind me, I’m just carrying two FULLY LOADED hanger caddies which are awkward and heavy and no, it’s fine if you just sort of stand there, no big deal, it’s just a really good thing that I’m nimble and quite agile…

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Path of least resistance becomes a game of finding the smallest spaces between people and convincing yourself that you really do in fact fit through them. Oh. And yes, I most definitely DO work here, thanks for asking… I mean, as much as I find folding pants therapeutic, I don’t usually fold them for fun, you know?! Especially when they’re exploding out of the pant wall due to extreme being-shopped-ness. Literally exploding. Seeing is believing, people.

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Good thing too that this bit of deliciousness awaited me on my break. Thankfully, or I might have passed out due to a potent combination of hunger, cash/wrap repetitiveness, and energetic dancing (obviously— you have to move around a lot when you’re ringing at the register to get the blood flowing).

Can I unscrew my smile now? I think my jaw is permanently stuck.

Mmm. For times when you need a hefty dose of iron and some delicious flavors, this recipe should be in your back pocket.

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Afghani Beef with Acorn Squash

Recipe adapted from Afghan Online, here. Mom discovered this one a while ago, and we’ve been fans ever since. It comes together fairly easily, and serves 3 with plentiful leftovers. Gluten free and paleo! Also delicious sans acorn squash if you don’t happen to have any, you could totally serve this over couscous or quinoa, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles from your spiralizer… you name it, it’s probably delicious.

Rustle up the following:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground beef (grass fed organic)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c water, divided
  • 1 mediumish zucchini
  • 2-3 c raw spinach
  • 2 acorn squash, halved
  • avocado oil

Preheat oven to 425. To roast acorn squash, brush them with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip them cut side down on a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet, and roast until fork tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Using a food processor or a powerful blender (I don’t possess this, so food processor it is), process onion and 1/2 c water. Pour this into a saucepan over medium heat, and add beef. Cook until the beef is browned, then add the other 1/2 c water, garlic, coriander, pepper, and tomato sauce. Grate zucchini into the pan, and toss in rinsed spinach. Let the whole thing simmer for about 20-25 minutes more, until ready to serve.

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Mondays are better with brownies, obviously

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Hiya!

Happy Monday! Because I knoooow these are going to make your Monday that. much. better.

They’re BROWNIES.

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Of COURSE they’ll make your otherwise slightly blah Monday better. Especially when I tell you that they are a) full of health bennies just for you and b) defs allergy friendly. And… as I said…

They’re BROWNIES!

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When have brownies in your inbox *not* made your Monday better? Right. I rest my case.

Have I ever shared my weird brownie proclivities on here? I’m not sure that I have so just in case you were dying to know…

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I’m weird. I like (no. Maybe love) brownies, but… I NEVER eat them. Nor do I ever make them. For some reason, I am never satisfied with the brownies that my kitchen produces. Why? Not crackly enough on the crust. Not chewy enough on the edges or fudgy chewy in the center. Whatever the reason, I am never quite sold on my own brownies, so they kind of get relegated to the bottom of the recipe pile. Which means that I only really eat brownies once a year… at camp.

Guys. These brownies are like CRACK. They are so ridiculously amazing, I can’t stop at one which means that I usually eat them all week long, multiple times a day (it’s a good thing the camp is at 8000 feet elevation…). I have a problem. But also. Those are, strangely enough, made from a mix!! I’m mildly ashamed to admit it (given that EVERYTHING on this blog is from scratch, and I never use mixes when I cook), but there it is. Favorite brownies come from a mix and are made in gigantic sheet pans in the temperamental Two Sentinels ovens that don’t heat evenly. But they’re fantastic. And they’re full of love, which is probably why I adore them so much.

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However. I broke my once-a-year brownie trend for these, mostly because they looked so tasty in the photos and they’re good for me. Ish. Obvs still a treat but whateverrrrrr, happy belated to me and vaccuum vati!

I’m not paleo. I like beans. But I also like a good cooking challenge and I have quite a few paleo friends, so here you go. Paleo brownies in yo’ inbox.

Happy Monday! Sorry I’m not sorry y’all want brownies now, heeheehee!

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Jackson Pollock-style brownies are WAY more fun…

Sweet Potato Brownies

Not quite cakey, not quite fudgy (which is good since a brownie somewhere between is my favorite), totally good for you and easy to whip together. High in Vitamin A/Beta Carotene, good fats, antioxidants, fiber, gluten free and refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Eat Drink Paleo, here! Makes 9 large or 12 small squares.

  • 1 sweet potato (I used orange), grated in the larger holes on a box grater
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c pure avocado oil*
  • 1/2 c maple syrup**
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5-2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2-3 biggish squares of dark chocolate, melted (I used 75%), for topping
  • dairy or nondairy ice cream thing to make sundaes (you know you want to)

*I use avocado oil or coconut for anything above 300 or 325—-they have a higher smoke point. Mine is organic.
**I always use 100% pure organic grade B maple syrup.

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Preheat the oven to 365, and line a 9 by 9″ pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Get a bicep workout by grating the sweet potato. Toss grated bits into a medium sized bowl, then add in eggs, vanilla, avo oil, and maple. Stir in baking powder and soda, then cocoa powder (try to smash out any major lumps, but it doesn’t have to be perfect). Lastly… stir in coconut flour (avoid using too much, it will make the brownies dry and gritty)—start with 1 tbsp and work from there. I ended up using the full 2 tbsp, but I think I could have reduced it to 1.5. The batter should be thickish. Spread it into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes. I took mine out at 25—a tester came out clean and the top was still a bit soft when pressed.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift the parchment out onto a cooling rack to let them cool completely.

Once cool, “frost” with melted dark chocolate and shredded coconut. It’s a really excellent idea to make these into sundaes… juuust sayin’!

Store them in the fridge in the foil covered pan if you have any left over!

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Cookies that play nice in the sandbox

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OoOooOOOOooohhhh the first of the fall baking has arrived!

PUMPKIN.

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Why isn’t it a year-round thing?? I always think that summer fruit is my favorite thing, but then around comes fall (which happens to be my favorite season anyway) and I get all obsessed with pumpkin. So fickle.

But seriously. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things ever. And healthy cookies are right up there next to pumpkin on the favorite things list, so obviously why would I NOT combine these?! Helloooo.

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I’m going to start my pumpkin hoarding sometime soon…. you know what I mean if you’ve hung around my inbox snark the last several years: come fall, everyyytime I go to the store, I grab an extra can of pumpkin. Can never have too much, right?! … Right. Sorry. I have a problem. BUT. That also means that when everyone else is fighting over the *last* can of pumpkin within a 10 mile radius, I am sitting pretty on my hoarded stash. And can therefore make pumpkin things. All. The. Time. Yep. Be jealous. Or don’t, and implement my genius strategy for yourself… you’ll thank me later.

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These cookies play nice in the sandbox, too, as they’re dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free, and paleo. Even if you don’t subscribe to any particular dietary theory (like me. I’m an omnitarian), it’s only fair to make cookies that can make nice for other people too, right?! Cookies are meant to be shared. They’re like love, in food form.

Bake love. Share food (preferably with a bestie over tea). Eat. Be happy!

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Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe lightly adapted from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, here! My batch yielded 10 cookies, about 2.5-3″. Paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free! Not to mention full of beta carotene, healthy fats, and antioxidants. How could you pass up these little gems?! That’s right… I thought not!

  • 1 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree (Just pumpkin, not pie filling pleeease!)
  • 2.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own: 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, pinch of cardamom or mace), plus more to sprinkle on the top of yet-to-be-baked cookies
  • 2 large squares of 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped

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Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking soda and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry (and do try to avoid overmixing, we can’t have that…). Stir in chocolate, and drop by the tablespoonish onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkleysprinkle some extra pumpkin pie spice on there because that is an excellent idea. Smooth them out just a little… then pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few as they’re soft right out of the oven—they’ll seem too soft at first but they firm up nicely. Store them in the fridge, if they last that long!

Your kitchen will smell like heaven. Indulge responsibly ;)

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Did British cavemen eat english muffins? If not, I refuse to be Paleo

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Sorry sorry for the blogging fail, I’ve been busy!! But to make up for all that, I have two wildly different cookie recipes to share with you. Never fear, all is right with the world when we have cookies.

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Hmm, some random musings first.

First and most importantly, I’m now a qualified TRX suspension trainer! Wheeeee!!! Now (after I practice forever and ever), I am certified to officially kick butt. I need business cards now, clearly. Get ready, world, I’m now certified and dangerous.

On a gastronomical level, I tried Welsh Rarebit for the first time when Mutti and I ventured down to Carmel by the Sea for the day. It’s… interesting. And no, it has nothing to do with rabbit, thank goodness. This, however was fantastic. How can you not love caramel and chocolate?!

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And then there is this enviously adorable picture of our feet on the beach.

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And then this awesome thingy that I can now do with my phone! Ridiculous photo editing triumphs! Totally unnecessary but hey, I love glitter so don’t judge.

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Okay so I suppose now I’ll share the cookies… because I spent 8 hours in TRX training, so obviously I earned a cookie (or a million. I was SO. HUNGRY). These cookies are amazing! Raw, vegan, and full of good things for you. No added or refined sugars, and they’re even gluten free! I’m kind of on a raw-date-nut-I’m-really-hippie-crunchy-to-the-core cookies, can you tell? These might even be paleo, maybe? I’m not sure, as I really like cheese and am not in fact well versed in the caveman diet as apparently cavemen didn’t eat cheese. Or english muffins. Maybe British cavemen ate english muffins? Whatever. To each his or her own eating proclivities, if you’re paleo, make these! If you’re not… make them anyway! Love food. Eat!

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Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

I only slightly modified the recipe from The Sweet Life. Soooo good. I got 11 cookies out of mine, with a tiny ball of ‘dough’ left over to eat whilst making… These cookies come together in a snap, and set up easily in the fridge. Raw, vegan, gluten free, paleo, no refined sugars, no added sugars, good protein, and healthy fats. Um… you could go wrong how?!

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Firstly, you need:

  • 1/2 c dates, pitted puuuuhlease
  • 1.5 c raw walnuts
  • 1/2 c raw pecans
  • 1/4 c unsalted organic almond butter
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips

Secondly, do this:

Pit your dates. Please. Don’t murder your food processor…Process the dates (with maybe a teeny bit of water), until they’re smooth and form a bit of a paste. Add walnuts and pecans, and pulse again until smooth and slightly crumbly. Add in almond butter, oats, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla, and blend until smoothyish. The ‘dough’ should be crumbly but hold together when you press a bit between your fingers. If it needs a bit more sticking-together-power, add a tsp of water at a time until you get the consistency you want. Toss the dough out into a bowl, fold in chocolate chippies, and form it into balls or cookies or whatever (I like cookies with a fork pattern). Let set in the fridge for about an hour, and then consume with reckless abandon. I let mine sit on a plate for a bit, uncovered, then put them into a glass container.

Eat, in a wholly guilt-free and smartly indulgent manner. Eat the food you love… love the food you eat!

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Paleo hockey pucks (no just kidding, they’re actually tasty cookies)

I was too lazy to put two recipes into one post, so here are those paleo cookies I was nerding out about in my last post.

Short and sweet, just some photos and a recipe!

Apple Cinnamon Cookies (Paleo-friendly)

Recipe from What Runs Lori, here! My yield was about 10ish cookies, ish. I’m a little behind, I’m not entirely sure since this batch is long gone. Ehhh, you get delicious cookies anyway, what do you care?! Moist HYDRATED, apple-y, and full of cinnamon. Yum yum yum. AND grain-free, vegan, refined sugar free, and full of healthy fats.

  • 1 buhhnahhhnuhh
  • 1/3 c grated apple, skin on
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1-2 tbsp milk bev (use almond or coconut to keep things vegan/paleo), if needed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mash yo’ buhhhnahhnuhhh. Toss in everything else: grated apple, almond butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, coconut flour, baking soda, and vinegar. Stir together, and add in 1-2 tbsp milk bev if the batter looks too dry (I used 2 tbsp). Drop cookies by the heaping glob onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes (mine went for 8)—an appropriately short baking time (hellooo, instant gratification). Let cool on a rack… or maybe in your stomach.